Texting by teens is on the rise, and has far outpaced voice calling, according to a recent study. Text messages have become the dominant form of communication between teens and nearly everyone - both friends and parents.
According to Pew Internet study, boys and African Americans are leading the increase in texting, with teen girls still at the head of the pack. The study also found that 75% of teens ages 12-17 use texting to communicate, while 23% own smartphones.
Across the whole age range surveyed - 12-17 years old - teens sent an average of 60 texts per day, up from 50 texts per day in 2009. The biggest increase was among 14-17 year old teens, who send an average of 100 texts per day, up from 60 in 2009. Most of the texters in this group are girls - boys in 14-17 age range sent an average of 50 texts per day.
At the same time, teens are spending less and less time on the phone, either with friends or family. Only 14% of teens said they talk daily with their friends via landline, and 26% said they talk daily with their friends via cell phone. Surprisingly, though, those who text the most also talk the most. Sixty-nine percent of heavy texters responded that they talk on their cell phones daily, compared to 46% of medium texters and 43% of light texters.
Finally, smartphone ownership is on the rise. As noted above, 23% of teens 12-17 years old own smartphones. In the 14-17 age group that number increases to 31%. While race, ethnicity, and income apparently have no bearing on whether or not a teen has a smartphone, the education level of the teen's parents does have a slight impact: 26% of teens whose parents had a college education owned smartphones, compared to 19% of those who parents did not. Smartphone ownership also correlated to tablet use: 30% of smartphone owners had used tablets to get online in the last thirty days, compared to 13% of teens without smartphones, and only 9% of teens without phones at all.
The study was conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Researchers polled 799 teens ages 12-17, as well as their parents. The study is available here.
Have you seen an increase in texting by the teens in your life? Do your teens own smartphones? Let us know in the comments.